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UK poll: May, Tories tipped to win despite Labour surge

Britain’s Conservative Party was tipped to win Thursday’s defining mid-term election despite an unexpected surge in the prospects of the opposition Labour Party.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2017 22:19 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
UK election,Prime Minister Theresa May,Conservative Party
Combination picture shows opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) voting in north London and British Prime Minister Theresa May (right) voting in Maidenhead on June 8, 2017 for the general election. (AFP)

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party is tipped to win Thursday’s snap polls that will define Britain’s future in the foreseeable future, despite a surge in the prospects of Labour during a bruising and at times personal campaign.

Counting of votes will begin soon after voting ends at 10 pm UK time. As many as 46.9 million eligible voters are choosing from 3,304 candidates in 650 constituencies.

Opinion polls and bookmakers have not exactly been right in UK and elsewhere recently, but latest indications suggest the gap between Tories and Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn has considerably narrowed since April 18, when the election was announced.

The gap, however, did not suggest a Labour win or the party emerging as the single largest, though Corbyn surprised everyone with a popular manifesto and performances on live television and at rallies that attracted crowds not seen for at least a decade.

At stake is not only the direction of forthcoming Brexit talks in Brussels, but also the personal standing of May, whose campaign focused on her image of being a “bloody difficult woman”, who alone could face down EU negotiators.

In the House of Commons, the Conservative Party had a slender majority of six, having won 330 seats in the 2015 election (not counting the speaker, who was elected as a Conservative MP). May often pointed this out, seeking a bigger majority .

“If I lose just six seats on Thursday, my government’s majority in the House of Commons will be gone, and our country will face the chaos of a hung parliament,” May had said in her appeal.

The idea behind holding the mid-term election was to gain a mandate for May’s version of Brexit and overcome frequent opposition inside and outside her party to her plans.

Anything less than a large majority will be seen as May failing in her endeavour.

A likely scenario is Labour emerging as the single largest party and forming a minority government with support from the Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party and others.

The SNP was the third largest in 2015, winning 56 of 59 seats in Scotland.

First Published: Jun 08, 2017 18:57 IST